Onimusha was originally going to be for the PlayStation, but since the release of the PlayStation 2 (the game was about 50% done at that time) it was moved to the PlayStation 2. Later it went through many changes and was released as Genma Onimusha for the Xbox in 2002. The game was also ported to PC Windows as Onimusha: Warlords, although this version was only released in Asia.
The game features samurai Samanosuke Akechi (modeled after actor Takeshi Kaneshiro), determined to save Princess Yuki (雪姫 Yuki-hime ) of the Saitō clan and defeat the warlord Oda Nobunaga, resurrected after signing a pact with yōkai demons. The game also features Kaede, a female ninja who provides Samanosuke with help. They both travel throughout all of Inabayama Castle, where they find special weapons and solve various puzzles as they search for clues of Princess Yuki's whereabouts.
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Gameplay in the game is similar to this in the Capcom's other action-adventure series, Resident Evil, but with emphasis on close-range combat. The game also uses an orb-based power-up system similar to the Capcom's Devil May Cry series, which enables the players to upgrade the characters' weapons using captured souls of their slain enemies. The two playable characters, Samanosuke and Kaede, are played differently because of their diverse weapons and combat abilities.
The story begins in 1560 with a cinematic sequence set during a Battle of Okehazama between the forces of Imagawa Yoshimoto and Nobunaga of the Oda clan, with Samanosuke participating in fighting on Yoshimoto's side. As Oda clan's victory seems imminent, Nobunaga laughs until a stray arrow pierces his throat. A year later Samanosuke receives a letter from his cousin Princess Yuki of the Saitō clan. In the letter, Yuki says that maids and servants have been disappearing and she suspects monsters to be the culprit and also request that Samanosuke saves her from the castle before she ends up as one of the victims. Samanosuke and Kaede arrive at the castle but they're too late to rescue Yuki. The last scene shows an army of Oda soldiers marching on with a pale but living Nobunaga leading them on a horse.
The game begins as Samanosuke and Kaede split up and head to the keep. Samanosuke soon finds some ninja genma with an unconscious Princess Yuki. However, as the heroes have a brief reunion, a gigantic club-wielding genma named Osric emerges from the ground. Samanosuke attempts to defend Yuki, but is easily dispatched and sent flying against the wall. As he lies unconscious, he is visited by the twelve oni, who give Samanosuke the power to destroy the genma and absorb their souls with a mystical gauntlet.
Samanosuke wakes up and enters a cave, where he finds the thunder orb and the Raizan. In a dry moat, he finds and kills Osric. As it dies, it destroys a part of the wall which leads to a hallway. In the room at its end, Samanosuke finds a laboratory and a genma scientist named Guildenstern operating on a human. Guildenstern reveals that he resurrected Nobunaga and that he made a pact swearing his allegiance to the genma. Guildenstern then escapes and sends a creature called a Reynaldo against Samanosuke. He defeats it and obtains the fire orb and the Enryuu in the laboratory, and then proceeds to a keep where he goes inside to find the entire place a derelict. Within the keep he encounters a man named Tokichiro Kinoshita wrestling with a small boy. After the boy escapes, Tokichiro states that he is a servant of the Oda clan and wonders if Samanosuke would be interested in joining, but Samanosuke refuses, saying that he controls his own life. As he moves on, Samanosuke sees Kaede chasing the young boy. Samanosuke only learns his name is Yumemaru before he escapes again and Kaede goes after him. Kaede later learns that he is an orphan and Yuki has raised him like a brother.
As Samanosuke nears the top of the keep, he sees Yumemaru in the hands of a ninja genma. Before he can give chase, Tokichiro confronts him once again with an offer to join the Oda clan and also reveals that the dark ceremony will take place soon and Princess Yuki's skull will be filled with her blood. Fortinbras, the king of demons, will bless it and Nobunaga will drink it in order to become powerful and destroy the Saitō clan; while he offers human sacrifices to the demons. Samanosuke fights a strong genma named Marcellus on the roof and receives the wind orb and the Shippuu when it is defeated. With this, he is able to rescue Yumemaru and brings him to a secure room in the keep. As Samanosuke tells him about the world, a maid comes in and Samanosuke tells Kaede to stay with Yumemaru and the woman while he looks for Yuki in underground. While he searches, he finds himself once again in the presence of Tokichiro; with one last request to join the Oda clan, he activates a trap device and Samanosuke is pulled down into the earth. Meanwhile, Kaede is rendered unconscious by a genma which looks like Samanosuke and Yumemaru is kidnapped by a woman. When she awakens, Kaede is led to the prison and finds Yuki locked in a cell. Before she can free her, Guildenstern arrives from the darkness of the cell and leaves Kaede to die at the hand of a powerful genma; she escapes once it is dead.
Samanosuke awakens and kills his counterpart in the underground passage. He makes his way back into the keep and arrives in the room where the woman and Yumemaru are. The woman reveals her true form, which is that of an insect-like genma called Hecuba, and erects a door to the demon world which she flies into with Yumemaru. When Samanosuke faces her, she reveals that Yumemaru is to be killed in front of Yuki which will heighten her sorrow, thus granting Nobunaga even more power when he uses Yuki's skull to drink her blood. Samanosuke and Kaede eventually vanquish the insect genma. As Samanosuke makes his way through the demon door, he encounters Guildenstern who summons a more powerful version of Marcellus who now has a red shading all over his body since he didn’t have the wind orb like his previous incarnation.
After defeating Marcellus, Samanosuke makes his way into Fortinbras' throne room, where he finds Yuki and Yumemaru trapped on the upper level. Before he can free them, Fortinbras enters the room: after a brief conversation, the two clash. It would seem that Samanosuke killed Fortinbras and he frees Yumemaru and Yuki as Kaede enters the room. As they exit, the place comes crashing down and Fortinbras finds the strength to grab Samanosuke. Kaede, Yumemaru, and Yuki escapes as the strain of Fortinbras's grip causes Samanosuke to spit up blood. Some of the blood falls on the gauntlet and Samanosuke becomes an onimusha (oni warrior) and kills Fortinbras by stabbing him in his central eye. As Samanosuke transforms back into a human, he sees Nobunaga's reflection in Fortinbras' eye and the two stare at each other as the room continues to collapse.
During the ending sequence Yuki and Yumemaru follow Samanosuke’s advice and travel the world. After the end credits, Samanosuke is seen alive, viewing Inabayama Castle from afar, and still possessing the gauntlet.
Samanosuke is the nephew of Akechi Mitsuhide (Akechi is the surname), the man historically credited to have actually killed Oda Nobunaga over 20 years after the events of the game. It is rumored that Samanosuke is an alternative name for one of Mitsuhide's actual nephews and may have been born in 1537. It is also rumored that he went by the name Hidemitsu Akechi (which is used by Samanosuke in Onimusha 3: Demon Siege). Some speculate that he was a nephew or cousin to Mitsuhide, others say brother-in-law, but not much is said about Samanosuke (Hidemitsu), just that he helped Mitsuhide in the attack on Nobunaga, and lived somewhat longer than Mitsuhide. His death is also a mystery: it was either seppuku or death in battle against Hideyoshi's troops.
Tokichiro Kinoshita was one of the names used by the man who would later be called Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Oda clan general who defeated Mitsuhide at the Battle of Yamazaki shortly after the latter betrayed and killed Nobunaga.
In the game, Nobunaga is killed at Okehazama, to be later resurrected by demons. Historically, he was actually mistakenly reported to have been felled by an arrow during this battle.
Akechi Samanosuke (明智 左馬介)
A master swordsman who travels across Japan seeking his rival. Often perceived as a passionless soldier because of his quiet ways, Samanosuke is actually a hot-blooded warrior with a noble sense of justice. In Onimusha 3: Demon Siege, where he is also one of the two main characters, his full name is revealed as Hidemitsu Samanosuke Akechi.
- Arquebus is a primitive firearm which is also known as "hook gun".
- Bishamon Sword (毘沙門剣 bishamonken ) is the ultimate sword bearing the name of the God of War, obtained by unlocking a door beyond the Evil Gate using the Bishamon Ocarina. Possesses unlimited magical power and high destructive capabilities.
- Bow is an ancient weapon that shoots arrows powered by the elasticity of the bow.
- Enryuu (炎龍剣, lit. Flame Dragon Sword) is a fire-elemental broadsword that is coupled with the Fire Orb, Kōen (紅炎).
- Katana is a type of Japanese backsword or longsword traditionally used by the samurai.
- Raizan (雷斬刀, lit. Thunder Slash Blade) is a lightning-elemental katana that is coupled with the Thunder Orb, Shiden (紫電).
- Shippuu (疾風丸, lit. Gale Blade) is a wind-elemental naginata that is coupled with the Wind Orb, Arashi (白風).
(かえで) An expert kunoichi, Kaede originally sent by the Iga ninja clan to assassinate Samanosuke. Instead, she develops absolute trust in him and joins him as his confidant. Kaede was originally sent to assassinate Samanosuke by the Iga ninja clan for reasons unknown, but she did not kill Samanosuke, rather developing trust and deep feelings of love (as shown in Onimusha Blade Warriors) for the samurai. Kaede later spends 10 years looking for Samanosuke until she finally finds him (as seen in Onimusha Blade Warriors).
- Knife is a sharp-edged (single or double edged) instrument consisting of a thin blade.
- Kunai are small throwing tools for distance attacking.
- Sacred Knife is the ultimate knife available to Kaede. This glowing red knife was blessed by a high oni monk in order to dispel demons.
- Princess Yuki (雪姫 Yukihime ): Yuki is the sister of Yoshitatsu of the Saitō clan, the master of Inabayama Castle and Samanosuke's cousin. She became aware of strange events in the castle and sends an SOS to Samanosuke. But before he arrives, she is mysteriously kidnapped.
- Yumemaru (夢丸): An enigmatic orphan discovered by Samanosuke while looking for Yuki in the castle.
- Nobunaga Oda (織田 信長 Oda Nobunaga ): An exceptional warlord who aspires to unify Japan. With the victory against Imagawa at Okehazama, he rides a tidal wave of success. Nobunaga's victory is short-lived when he is stuck in the throat by an arrow. Though thought dead, he is revived by the genma lord Fortinbras to serve as his general.
- Tokichiro Kinoshita (木下 藤吉郎 Kinoshita Tōkichirō ): One of Nobunaga's high-ranking generals, Kinoshita has the warlord's complete trust. Though he has sworn absolute loyalty to Nobunaga, the only thing Kinoshita truly cares about is his own advancement in the ranks of power.
- Guildenstern (ギルデンスタン Girudensutan ): A genma scientist who creates many of the Genma's arsenal.
- Marcellus: Originally an oni, Marcellus was converted into a genma through Guildenstern's experimentation. This engineered demon, created from materials fetched from the Cave of Treachery, is Guildenstern's pride and joy.
- Ozric (オズリック Ozurikku ): The first boss.
- Hecuba (ヘキュバ Hekyuba ): A giant wasp-woman genma.
- Fortinbras (フォーティンブラス Fōtinburasu ): The genma lord responsible for the incident at Inabayama Castle and the resurrection of Nobunaga through Guildenstern.
Other historical figure mentioned in the game are Akechi Mitsuhide and Saitō Yoshitatsu.
|Character||Seiyū||English voice actor|
|Akechi Samanosuke||Takeshi Kaneshiro||Tig Fong|
|Kaede||Nao Takamori||Ayumi Iizuka|
|Yumemaru||Makoto Tsumura||Austin Di Iulio|
|Princess Yuki||Akemi Okamura||Hiromi Okiyama|
|Nobunaga Oda||Akio Ōtsuka||Dennis Akayama|
|Guildenstern||Tamio Ōki||Michael Stark|
|Fortinbras||Akio Ōtsuka||Tony Daniels|
|Tokichiro Kinoshita||Tōru Ōkawa||Robert Lee|
|Osric||Naomi Kusumi||Tony Daniels|
|Nui, Hecuba||Kaho Kōda||Mung-Ling Tsui|
|Narrator||Ichirô Nagai||Mark Owen|
The Xbox version of the game contained many changes from the original release. Besides the requisite minor graphical upgrade, there were various changes to increase the difficulty. Monsters are stronger and there are generally more of them throughout the game, but the most significant addition is green soul energy. Some foes release this when they die and the player must capture it before other monsters do. The player can gain temporary invulnerability, but the monsters become faster and stronger.
Additionally, there is a new area, several new costumes, enemies limbs can be cut off by the player on certain conditions, some new cut scenes and a new super attack.
Onimusha: Warlords was a commercial success, selling over 2 million copies worldwide, with 1.4 million copies sold in Japan alone. The game went Platinum in just under a month in the region, quickly becoming the top-selling PlayStation 2 game ever at the time of its release. It also sold at least 400,000 copies in North America, earning it Sony Greatest Hits status. The game has received positive reviews, earning a "Great" 8.4 from GameSpot, and a 8.9/10 from IGN. Critics highly praise graphics, sound and gameplay, but complaining about the short length of the game.
- In the English localization of Onimusha: Warlords, the word oni was translated as ogre. However, in all subsequent games in the series the word oni has remained intact in the English scripts.
- It was the only game within the series that gives players the option of hearing the voice acting in either English or Japanese with subtitles (this option was not provided in the UK/EU PAL version) included until the fourth installment, which also had this feature.
- Several of the enemies' names come from William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
- IGN: Onimusha Moves More Than Two Million. IGN.com (February 7, 2002). Retrieved on 2009-02-05
- The Magic Box - Japan Platinum Chart Games.. The-MagicBox.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-05
- IGN: Onimusha Goes Platinum in Japan. IGN.com (March 23, 2001). Retrieved on 2009-02-05
- Gantayat, Anoop (February 12, 2001). IGN: Onimusha Becomes Best Selling PS2 Title Ever. IGN.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-05
- Stensrud, Matt (May 21, 2002). PS2 News: E3 2002: Greatest Hits list revealed. PSXExtreme.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-05
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